Sanam- A few thoughts
The moment I saw the promos and teasers for Sanam I thought it had “Dusri Bivi “written all over it. By “Dusri Bivi” I meant a certain plot that is used by HUM TV every season in some form as a ratings generator. It’s not as if the other channels don’t use this plot line, it’s just that Hum TV is a master at churning it out with sickening regularity. For the naïve I will explain the stock ingredients:
- ONE angelic, neglected, long-suffering husband who yearns for a simpler life involving Parathas and eggs (fried or omelet). He would never dream of marrying again but is forced into this dilemma by circumstance and his cold , demanding first wife
- First wife : demanding, arrogant, outspoken and domineering woman. A BAD, bad Lady who doesn’t know how to cook.
- Wife number two : Sweet, innocent, young girl ( knows how to cook )
This was heartbreaking on so many levels because I have been suffering Dayar e Dil withdrawals nonstop, and to see my favourite WaFa again albeit in different avatars would have been fabulous .
After two episodes Sanam hasn’t done much to cheer me up or allay my fears except for one thing, the first wife Ayla has a mental illness instead of the usual character defects. Having seen this kind of illness first hand, I can say Ayla’s character is a fairly accurate depiction of the kind of paranoia that people with this illness can suffer. I was very impressed with Mona Haseeb’s previous work Nanhi , an amazing serial, with the kind of stark authenticity that is rare for our dramas. However there were drawbacks, such as the way Nanhi’s rape and the after effects were depicted. The rape was luridly depicted and Nanhi didn’t seem effected by the brutal assault as she should have been.
My one hope for this drama is that it can maintain the accuracy of the portrayal without demonizing those who suffer from mental illness even more than they already are. Those with loved ones that suffer from such disorders are under pressure from all sides. Firstly, it is incredibly painful to watch someone they love go through this and then they have to deal with all the minutiae of daily life, while coping with and limiting the harm caused by such illnesses. Then there is the pressure put on them by society and the stigma attached to mental illness. I hope that the writer shows that Ayla is also a victim and that when someone we love falls prey to such a disorder, no matter how inconvenient they are they are not something to “throw away” or get rid of.
I am not particularly optimistic about this because according to the story Ayla has not known Harib long,so, despite their courtship they don’t have a history of love and faith to counteract the changes in personality such diseases cause as they progress. Osman Khalid Butt seems to be holding back in his scenes with Hareem Farooq and quelle surprise really comfortable in his scenes with everyone else. There isn’t any screen chemistry that I can find between these two … . Hareem Farooq has Ayla down well, under playing a lot of the hysteria. Perhaps the most authentic scene of the two episodes was the Harib and Ayla’s car ride to book their honeymoon. Ayla’s slowly rising suspicions and paranoia were completely accurate. This isn’t a review but as I have mentioned the other actors, let me just add Maya Ali who is again playing the stock good girl role. At least Aan actually has some kind of personality compared to Mannu who was like a cardboard cutout and Maya seems to a good handle on it so far.
Darn but I can’t help myself even though it’s not a review, (which it isn’t) …HOW absolutely annoying and inappropriate is that Emmad Irfani’s character? It almost felt like he was hitting on Ayla and here is where I get the Mann Mayal vibes all over again … unless this is a consistent character trait in Harib’s “friend”.
If this serial shows any signs of rising above a modified Dusri Bivi story, I might just watch it but otherwise I think may just leave it as the one I had to let go.